Apple, Inc. and Search Engine Optimization: a Brief Case Study on SEO

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           The purpose of this study is to analyze the search engine (Google) performance of Apple, Inc. based on keywords.  Ten popular terms associated with Apple and electronics in general have been searched and the results will be discussed based on their Google search ranking, and coding within Apple’s website that may have helped them perform in this search. 

Apple

            I was unsure of how Apple would perform in this term because I feel like the term “Apple” is more widely associated with the Imageactual fruit than the brand.  I assumed they would be second to maybe a large apple distribution company or something along those lines, but Apple, Inc.  certainly triumphed in this search.  The first listing was for Apple’s homepage and following listings included Apple stores near me as well as recent news stories associated with the brand.  My browser became dominated with information about Apple and ways that I can buy their products, including other stores that sell their items. 

Computer

            I was ready for this term to be very competitive and wasn’t expecting Apple to do very well as “computer” is typically more associated with PC’s and other Windows devices.  Surprisingly, Apple was on the first page of my search and was actually only about half way down the screen.  In fact, only the Wikipedia definition of the term and some local/news listings were above Apple’s homepage in my search results.  Upon further investigation of Apple’s coding, the word “computer” was present as part of the code for their homepage, but only twice. 

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Laptop

            This was a term that Apple actually did not do particularly well in.  The company was not present on the first search page and actually was about halfway down on the second page with a link to their “Macbook Pro” line of products.  A search of the code revealed that the term was not present and might be an opportunity for Apple to improve its SEO results. 

iPod

            My next few searches involved products that Apple exclusively makes.  I was only going to search one of these terms, but was Imagesurprised to see the differing results of the various terms that seem so similar.  These searches revealed that Google has allowed some of the “sponsored links” to be first in line, as this search has revealed.  Various stores selling iPods were listed first and even got a picture thumbnail of the product associated with their link.  Apple’s product page and home page represented the second and third search results, however, followed by news stories related to the product. 

iPad

            One form of Apple Inc. was the first and third search result for this term.  The first term did seem to be “sponsored” however leading me to wonder whether Apple had to pay for the privilege of being the first search result. Surprisingly, T Mobile follows right after Apple’s homepage and before Apple’s iPad official page.

iPhone

            Another story of sponsored links winning the search results for this term.  The first listed link was for Sprint’s website and buying an iPhone from them.  This was followed by Apple’s official product page. 

mp3 player

            I almost omitted this search because I thought it would be too competitive and thought Apple wouldn’t really categorize any of their products as simply an “mp3 player.”  The results for this search were particularly interesting with a product listing being the first result similar to the results from the “iPod” search.  This was followed by a Best Buy link which did include the “iPod” in its Title heading.  The rest of the results on the first page were very diverse and included Wikipedia listings as well as product reviews.  The Apple iPod product page was about a quarter of the way down on the second page. 

Mac

            This term also had Apple only losing to a sponsored page from MAC Cosmetics.  I was surprised a term like this would even have sponsored links at the top as not all of my search terms have necessarily had that.  The next two results were Apple pages followed by the official link for MAC Cosmetics in fourth. 

Apps

            I was glad to see Apple as the first result for this term because I personally give them credit for making the “app” what it is today.  In fact, Apple was present in 3 of the first 6 search results for this term. 

Electronics

            The most broad search term in this case study certainly did not disappoint in its results.  The first link was for Wal Mart and was not listed as sponsored on Google.  This was followed by the Wikipedia definition for the term and then local listings for electronics stores.  Apple was not present in the first 5 pages of search results and could be another great opportunity for Apple to improve its search engine optimization.  

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7 thoughts on “Apple, Inc. and Search Engine Optimization: a Brief Case Study on SEO

  1. Jake, I almost chose Apple as well. When I did some preliminary Google keyword searches, Apple literally was the first thing to pop up on everything. Because I use an Apple computer, I felt a little like Big Brother was watching me. Do you think there is a correlation between Apple popping up first, and my Apple product use? Am I being paranoid? Haha – I’m kidding. Sort of….
    I do believe that Apple is a great example of a fully fleshed out SEO plan, covering every keyword search, including beyond their own products. Great post!

    • Haha I don’t think you are being paranoid, but I had not considered the hardware being used as something that could contribute to search results. I am sure that it has more to do with your browser and history of some kind, but that is an interesting point to think about. Does buying a certain product mean that you may be subject to more marketing from that company? I guess it would be more along the lines of you subject yourself to their branding on a more constant basis if you buy their product. Just seeing the Apple logo every time you start up your computer is probably more valuable to them then being the first search result on too many of your searches. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Being a long-time Mac user, unless I’m in a grocery store a computer is the first image that pops into my head when I hear the word apple 😀 I agree with Lesley about Apple having a top notch SEO plan, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from such a well-branded image, come to think of it. From the blog posts I’ve read, none of these large corporations leave much to chance when it comes to Google searches by having paid ads show up nearly every time. Thanks for the recon!

    • Yea its funny to think about the differences in the online culture compared to the average person. What I mean is, statistically around the world, the term “apple” must be more associated with the fruit than it is with the company. Our internet culture though has really challenged this thinking, and certainly when we are engaging the word “apple” online, we are likely talking about the brand. It’s almost like we speak two completely different languages at times lol (<—– get it! haha)

  3. I considered using Apple as well! I didn’t because I had an opposite hypothesis, and thought that it would dominate the Google searches too much. I’m fascinated that the searches for some of their specific products yielded vendor results before their own pages. It looks like some companies caught Apple slipping a bit! How interesting that they were such a high result in searching for ‘computer’ and not for ‘laptop’… I searched the term ‘tablet’ out of curiosity and thought it was notable that the iPad website was half way down the second page…

    • I didn’t even think of searching tablet, great idea! So it looks like we have discovered a few good ways for Apple to perhaps improve its SEO. It’s crazy to think about how much this company really has grown in the last few years. You were not the only one that mentioned thinking about using them and I think this is a testament to that growth. I would imagine it has a lot to do with the iPhone and the way it really has changed the way we use phones on a daily basis. We may not even be having this conversation right now if it weren’t for that invention…. Maybe? (insert long conversation about the iPhone and the accessibility of social/digital media here)

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